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Should a Christian attend other religions' celebrations?

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  • Should a Christian attend other religions' celebrations?

    Inspired by this thread and my own life.

    I come from a historically Hindu (Father's side) and Muslim (Mother's side) family. Both my parents are "Christians" in the sense that they identify with the religion but aren't religious. My extended family are parts of the Hindu and Muslim religions. So I usually get invited to Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations as well as Ramayans. Should I go to them? To be fair, the celebration of Eid isn't that much religious in my own family but the ramayans consistently refer back to Hindu scripture. I usually just go there to eat and to not "shame" my mother and father and don't really bother too much with the religious stuff but should I go from a Biblical perspective?

    [EDIT: due to lack of spacing]
    Last edited by Quantum Weirdness; 02-11-2014, 10:24 PM.
    -The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.
    Sir James Jeans

    -This most beautiful system (The Universe) could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.All variety of created objects which represent order and Life in the Universe could happen only by the willful reasoning of its original Creator, whom I call the Lord God.
    Sir Isaac Newton

  • #2
    Speaking personally, I would be comfortable going only insofar as I can limit it to a social event. If I have to partake in observances that are some way meaningful in how they give honor to a foreign deity, I would have to stay home.

    Except for explicit worship or honoring of false gods, I feel this is more of a "what does my conscience say?" kind of thing.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm confused -- the title mentions "other religion's celebrations", but your OP downplays the religious aspect.
      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Manwë Súlimo View Post
        Speaking personally, I would be comfortable going only insofar as I can limit it to a social event. If I have to partake in observances that are some way meaningful in how they give honor to a foreign deity, I would have to stay home.

        Except for explicit worship or honoring of false gods, I feel this is more of a "what does my conscience say?" kind of thing.
        I'd tend to agree with this ^^.

        I spent some time in India last year, and this was pretty much my attitude. As long as I wasn't participating directly in a ceremony or worship of some false deity, then I considered myself an observer. I figured that if I wanted to be any kind of a witness to the people I was meeting, I'd first need to make friends with them. I didn't want to appear too standoffish or offensive.

        This attitude worked for me, because my hosts and I ended up having conversations about religion. They'd explain what they believed (Hinduism, Jainism, Islam) and that gave me the opportunity to explain what I believed. Obviously your situation is different because it's your family, but I'd say the concept is roughly similar.
        "If you believe, take the first step, it leads to Jesus Christ. If you don't believe, take the first step all the same, for you are bidden to take it. No one wants to know about your faith or unbelief, your orders are to perform the act of obedience on the spot. Then you will find yourself in the situation where faith becomes possible and where faith exists in the true sense of the word." - Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Manwë Súlimo View Post
          Speaking personally, I would be comfortable going only insofar as I can limit it to a social event. If I have to partake in observances that are some way meaningful in how they give honor to a foreign deity, I would have to stay home.

          Except for explicit worship or honoring of false gods, I feel this is more of a "what does my conscience say?" kind of thing.
          I can't recall the specific passage(s) dealing with this, but I'm fairly certain the Apostle Paul took a dim view of attending pagan festivals, even for social reasons.
          Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

          Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
          sigpic
          I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
            I'm confused -- the title mentions "other religion's celebrations", but your OP downplays the religious aspect.
            Well Eid is apparently supposed to be religious but my "Muslim" family isn't religious at all. (or at least don't seem to be)
            -The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.
            Sir James Jeans

            -This most beautiful system (The Universe) could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.All variety of created objects which represent order and Life in the Universe could happen only by the willful reasoning of its original Creator, whom I call the Lord God.
            Sir Isaac Newton

            Comment


            • #7
              As most of us know, Paul says that eating meat sacrificed to idols is okay, whereas Jesus takes a dim view of it in Revelation 2:14. The best way I have found to reconcile the two (I think in a book co-authored by Gordon Fee) is that the Revelation context seems to be about actually being at/participating in the festivals whereas Paul is talking about meat that simply happened to have been sacrificed. If this is accurate (and I can't say for sure that it is), then I think it points us in the direction of "probably not".
              "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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              • #8
                Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                As most of us know, Paul says that eating meat sacrificed to idols is okay,
                This is a very incomplete (and therefore misleading) presentation of what Paul says.

                In Paul's day, most meat offered for sale in the marketplace would have come from pagan sacrifices. Paul reassures the Corinthians that the act of sacrificing the meat to the idols doesn't make it inherently bad, so you don't need to avoid meat in case it might have been sacrificed to idols (1 Cor 8:4-6). However, knowingly eating meat sacrificed to idols should be avoided because it may cause a weaker brother to stumble (1 Cor 8:7-13). Further, we should not partake of sacrificed meat with pagans (i.e., at pagan festivals), because eating the meat makes you a partaker in the pagan festival (1 Cor. 10:18-22).
                whereas Jesus takes a dim view of it in Revelation 2:14. The best way I have found to reconcile the two (I think in a book co-authored by Gordon Fee) is that the Revelation context seems to be about actually being at/participating in the festivals whereas Paul is talking about meat that simply happened to have been sacrificed. If this is accurate (and I can't say for sure that it is), then I think it points us in the direction of "probably not".
                See also Acts 15:29 / 21:25.
                Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                sigpic
                I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                  This is a very incomplete (and therefore misleading) presentation of what Paul says.

                  In Paul's day, most meat offered for sale in the marketplace would have come from pagan sacrifices. Paul reassures the Corinthians that the act of sacrificing the meat to the idols doesn't make it inherently bad, so you don't need to avoid meat in case it might have been sacrificed to idols (1 Cor 8:4-6). However, knowingly eating meat sacrificed to idols should be avoided because it may cause a weaker brother to stumble (1 Cor 8:7-13). Further, we should not partake of sacrificed meat with pagans (i.e., at pagan festivals), because eating the meat makes you a partaker in the pagan festival (1 Cor. 10:18-22).

                  See also Acts 15:29 / 21:25.
                  For the record, I endorse this explanation; it was basically saying what I was trying to say but was having trouble wording accurately. And the general point for how it relates to the OP remains.
                  "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have gone to Jewish Synagogue. Anybody have a problem with that? My purpose was to learn more about Jewish worship, and to see how it relates to the OT I preach.
                    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                      I have gone to Jewish Synagogue. Anybody have a problem with that? My purpose was to learn more about Jewish worship, and to see how it relates to the OT I preach.
                      Paul seems to have not had a problem with it.
                      Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                      Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                      sigpic
                      I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        There are probably other exceptions here and there too; I wouldn't rush to condemn a Christian newspaper reporter assigned to cover a story at a mosque or something. The key is whether it would appear that the person is participating in worship, and in most cases with somebody attending, that would seem apparent to onlookers. (This is totally aside from the example of synagogues CP brings up.)
                        "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That's why I stopped going to Mass -- I never know when to sit, stand, kneel or roll over. I end up "just following the crowd".
                          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Well I wouldn't especially have or take issues with attending a Jewish Wedding or a Synagogue (I kind of enjoyed Synagogue the few times I went and even met a few Jewish folks who were raised Jewish that had accepted Jesus) I think that is the exception to the Rule, Jews aren't exactly "pagan's" nor do they have a foreign God. And I never felt uncomfortable participating in prayers.

                            On the other hand, just as a person, I'd have a hard time turning down and invitation to a friend's wedding. I would not necessarily participate in the religious elements, but I would be happy to attend a marriage.
                            A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
                            George Bernard Shaw

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Catholicity View Post
                              ...I would be happy to attend a marriage.
                              I would rather have a root canal without anesthesia.
                              "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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